STEVE Holland is the latest member of Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to be appointed to a group involved in managing or advising local government in Victoria.
Cr Holland’s election to the board of the Victorian Local Government Association board follows the mayor Cr Despi O’Connor’s appointment by the state government to the local government mayoral advisory panel and deputy mayor Cr Sarah Race to its gender equality advisory committee.
Cr Holland was one of two councillors elected for a three-year term on the VLGA board. Cr Josh Fergeus, of Monash Council, was the other successful candidate.
Cr Holland’s Briars Ward colleague Cr Anthony Marsh was one of 10 nominations in the VLGA board elections but is understood to have attracted just 17 of first preference votes.
The VLGA board sets long-term strategies and policies for the benefit of its members and local government as well as providing the organisation with risk and governance oversight.
“The VLGA’s focus of strengthening good governance in local government is a key interest of mine,” Cr Holland said after his victory. “I’m looking forward to working with the board to continue their ongoing effort of building trust and confidence in the sector and helping local councillors from around Victoria deliver for their communities.”
In his candidate’s statement made available to the 400 or so Victorian councillors able to vote in the VLGA’s board elections, Cr Holland said the role of councillors was difficult as they balanced “the conflicting needs of our community and the demand for greater services and infrastructure”.
“As successive state governments erode the independence and representative power of local government, the role of the VLGA is as important today as it was at conception in 1994.
“I believe the VLGA should return to its founding focus to protect and strengthen transparent, local, representative democracy and provide councillors with the support they need to deliver for their communities.
“We are the front-line voice of our community and the VLGA should be local government’s biggest champion.”
Cr Holland said he understood “the needs and challenges” of metropolitan and rural municipalities.
“I am self-employed and have extensive experience working with and for peak bodies and industry associations which will serve me well.”
In his appeal to voters, Cr Marsh said he chaired the shire’s planning services committee, sitting on its audit and risk committee and innovation consultative group.
“I started my career as an aerospace engineer and commissioned officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, followed by a period as a management consultant, before starting multiple successful businesses.
“I have extensive experience as a board member and company director, holding various directorships over the past 15 years, including several current directorships in private companies and non-profit organisations,” Cr Marsh, who is spending $8000 of his $16,000 councillor allowance on a director’s course, said (“Colleagues back Marsh for $8000 course” The News 2/6/21).
“My qualifications include a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering, Master of Business Administration, and I am currently studying law. I am also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.”
Cr Marsh described himself as a “non-partisan critical thinker and demonstrated community advocate with deep commercial experience”.
Cr David Gill – who has just been controversially replaced by Cr Marsh on the Bass park Trust (“Trust says ‘no’ to council’s chosen delegate” The News 15/6/21) – congratulated Cr Holland “on winning first position in a ballot process involving all councillors in Victoria”.
“It is good to see a councillor who understands governance and rules has been elected.”